11 ways to travel the world without leaving your sofa
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Stuck inside for the foreseeable future? Us too.
While we at TPG are avid travelers and supporters of the travel industry, now is simply not the time to be traveling, due to the fast-spreading coronavirus pandemic. Health officials agree the fastest way to return to normalcy is to stop coming in contact with others, and sadly, that means ceasing any nonessential travel.
Instead of traveling right now (sorry, that probably means no spring break this year), we suggest you use this time to plan your next trip. Or, at the very least, satisfy your wanderlust by taking an unforgettable armchair vacation.
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We rounded up some of our favorite ways to travel the world without leaving the comfort of your home. So, break out your comfiest sweats and buckle up for your next adventure.
Discover a museum
Iconic museums from the Guggenheim in New York City to the Louvre in Paris are available through Google Arts & Culture, a platform that allows you to take digital tours of some of the world’s most famous museums. You can browse through all the available museums, and even see some of the most famous pieces of art up close. Historic sites, such as the Palace of Versailles, are also available to tour through Google. The best part? Access is 100% free.
If you want something that sparks your inner child (or keeps your actual children occupied), you’re in luck. The Children’s Museum of Houston is sharing do-it-yourself experiments, as well as activities and behind-the-scenes exhibit content on YouTube, Instagram and Twitter. You can make a cardboard kazoo, listen to story time and even learn about how the water cycle works. This is a surefire way to pass the time if you’ve found yourself suddenly homeschooling your kids.
Take a cooking class
Is there anything better than having a home-cooked meal from an Italian grandma? We don’t think so. While Italy is on lockdown right now in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, that doesn’t mean you can’t get your fix of some incredible Italian cooking.
Nonna Nerina, an 84-year-old Italian grandmother in Palombara Sabina, Italy, has set up a virtual cooking class on Airbnb Experiences. Here, she’ll virtually teach you how to make Italian classics such as ravioli, gnocchi and fettuccine. Just note that she only teaches classes on weekends; the weekday classes are taught by her granddaughter. Plus, if you enter your email, you can get 25% off the $50, 2-hour class for a limited time.
London’s famous Borough Market is also offering free, online cooking classes. All you’ll have to do is join the market’s new Facebook group or follow it on Instagram to see what vendors are cooking up.
Go on a ride at Disney
The magic isn’t over just because all Disney parks around the world are closed until further notice. You can stream virtual Disney rides from parks around the world, from Florida to France, in the comfort of your own home. How’s that for a bargain on a Disney vacation?
Explore parks and attractions
Take a trip to the great outdoors from, well, indoors. You can virtually explore national parks and famous attractions around the country, all courtesy of Google Arts & Culture. Think: the Statue of Liberty, Mount Rushmore, the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone National Park and Alcatraz Island. Better yet, they’re all accessible for free and you won’t have to wait in a single line.
If you’re itching to see the famous cherry blossoms around the world, Google Earth will come in handy yet again. From the Meguro River Cherry Blossoms Promenade in Tokyo to the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C., there’s something for everyone here. You could easily spend hours taking virtual tours.
Visit a botanic garden
A handful of botanic gardens around the country are also offering virtual tours for travelers to enjoy. The indoor conservatory at the United States Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C., for example, is temporarily closed to the public until at least April 1. In the meantime, though, you can take a virtual tour of the gardens and soak in all of the beautiful scenery.
Take an art class
A handful of universities are hosting free, virtual art classes, according to Artsy, and many have a global perspective. You can study the history of Japan through images or discover ancient Egyptian art and antiquities. You know what they say: If you can’t travel, you might as well spend a few hours every week looking at pictures of places you wish you were. Right?
Listen to live music
Did coronavirus derail your plans to travel to a major musical event like South by Southwest (SXSW), the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival or Coachella?
Fortunately, a number of bands and musicians are performing “couch tours,” as many of their concerts have been canceled due to new restrictions regarding social distancing. For example, Dead and Company will host a weekly, free concert on Facebook. The concert will feature past performances that fans can watch for free, Live for Live Music reported.
And according to NPR, travelers can also catch live, virtual jazz performances, electronic festivals, classical concerts and more.
Watch a movie
Give yourself a much-needed break from all the craziness out there and curl up on the sofa with one of these feel-good and wanderlust-worthy films this weekend. Some of our top picks include “Eat, Pray, Love” and “Mamma Mia” — but there are plenty of classic flicks and television series to choose from.
Live like a royal for the day
Put on your crown and get ready to take a virtual tour of Buckingham Palace. You can take a peek at the Throne Room, Grand Staircase, White Drawing Room and more. The entire palace isn’t up for viewing, but it’s certainly enough to keep you occupied for hours.
Take a trip to the beach
In need of some sunlight and vitamin D? Tune into Hvar’s 24/7 YouTube livestream to see what’s going on in the stunning Croatian beach town. We wouldn’t blame you if you’re itching to plan a trip there when this is all over and, lucky for you, we have some strategies up our sleeves that can help you achieve that dream trip to Croatia.
You can also enjoy the sun and sand in St. Lucia. All you have to do is go to @TravelSaintLucia‘s Instagram Live to take part. On March 31 at 11 a.m. EST, you can enjoy a virtual cooking class filled with local flavors. On April 2 at 5 p.m. EST, get ready for an hour-long live DJ party. And on April 7, enjoy some guided meditation on the beach at 11 a.m. EST.
The beautiful island of Bermuda is also hosting a daily livestream. Put on some Jimmy Buffet, make yourself a piña colada and enjoy your makeshift beach day.
Enjoy a virtual distillery
Distillery 291 in Colorado Springs is hosting live virtual tasting rooms on their social media channels every day at 2 p.m. MT. Then, at 5 p.m., they’re hosting daily virtual happy hour, so you’ll definitely want to tune in. They’ll have musicians and family members popping in to share stories, whiskey and good memories.
Featured photo by Martin Pechy/Unsplash.
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